Sanctuary Cognitive Systems Corp., a Canada-based startup aiming to create general-purpose robots with human-like intelligence, has raised $58.5 million in Series A funding. Investors in this round of funding included Bell, Evok Innovations, Export Development Canada, Magna, SE Health, Verizon Ventures and Workday Ventures.
Sanctuary is developing breakthrough technology in AI, cognition, computer vision, machine learning, theoretical physics, and quantum computing to create the general-purpose robots. They will not only be human-like in size and shape but will also have cognitive architecture that imitates the subsystems found in the human brain, such as memory, sight, sound and touch.
While many companies are developing robots capable of singular tasks, Sanctuary aims to create robots capable of performing a wide range of tasks in different industries and verticals. The general-purpose robots can be piloted by people, by pilot-assist technologies or can work entirely on their own initiative with supervision from a human operator.
The company aims to improve workplace safety by enabling the robots to perform difficult or dangerous tasks, which would normally be carried out by humans. Examples of potential tasks the robots could be used for include clearing minefields in conflict zones or sterilizing hospital rooms.
Sanctuary also stated that its robots would create new work opportunities to those who may be less capable of physical work, making workplaces more accessible. The robots would also be capable of filling in gaps in the workplace tackling global labor shortages.
With the focus currently being on improving the workplace and tackling labor-related challenges on Earth, Sanctuary also plans to develop robots and technology to help humans explore, settle, and prosper in outer space. Anousheh Ansari, first female private space explorer, and former astronaut and commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield, has recently joined the Sanctuary Advisory Board.